The Ili Pika is more rare and endangered than the Panda. It was listed as an officially endangered animal in 2008, but currently there is no official team or organization dedicated to protecting the adorable mammal.
You have likely never heard of the Ili Pika rabbit, that’s because it is one of the most rare species in the world. Careful not to fall too hard for the endangered Ili Pika rabbit, they may be the most adorable bunnies you’ve ever seen but their species is fleeting.
One Ili Pika was recently spotted and photographed on July 9, 2014 in its native country of China. According to estimates there are less than 1,000 of these rabbits left, and this particular rabbit was the first of its kind seen and documented in over 20 years.
Conservationist Li Weidong is the man that discovered the rare species of rabbit. In an interview with CNN he revealed, “I discovered the species, and I watched as it became endangered. If it becomes extinct in front of me, I’ll feel so guilty.”
The mammal, only 20 centimeters long, lives on sloping bare rock faces and feeds on grasses at high elevations. Li says the pika’s habitat has been affected by global warming.
Due to rising temperatures, glaciers have receded and the altitude of permanent snow has risen in the Tianshan mountains, forcing the pikas to gradually retreat to mountain tops, Li said.
Ili pikas were originally found at elevations between 3,200 to 3,400 meters, he said. Now they have retreated to elevations of 4,100 meters.
“They have nowhere else to retreat,” he added.
It’s also a solitary animal and is not as vocal as other pika species, so if predators are near, Ili pikas are not able to alert each other, Li said.
Meet the Animal: Ili Pika (“Magic Rabbit”) That’s Rarer and Cuter Than Panda: